Insuring Your Livelihood: The Benefits and Pitfalls of Being Your Own Boss

How many of us have been packed like sardines in a tiny office with less-than-ideal coworkers?

Meanwhile the boss is nowhere to be found, and with a staff meeting supposedly being held in the next 10 minutes, you assume it’s going to be pushed back, again. You later find the boss squirreled away in his own office watching Jimmy Kimmel videos on YouTube. He totally forgot about the staff meeting. “Let’s push it to next week,” he says.

WHAT THE HECK?! You scream internally. Why is it that no one seems to take this job seriously? It’s at this moment, that like Jerry Maguire, you decide to bust out on your own. You have the skills, the drive and the gumption, why not start your own company? You’ve pretty much been keeping this one going, how hard can it be?

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Here’s What It Takes to Run a Business

As it would turn out, running your own small business isn’t all that easy. Skills, drive and gumption can only get you so far, and you’ve now learned why your boss liked to hide in his office so much. As with anything, there are pros and cons that come with every situation. Here are some pros and cons of running your own small business.

The Benefits

You are the ultimate decision maker: Your decision is final when you’re the boss. Understanding finances, culture and demographics of your office will help you to make smart business decisions about your business and help you to better support your staff.

You set the hours: You can work 9-5 or 10-2, it’s entirely up to you. You can be a business that offers their employees a three-day weekend or paid overtime. It’s your business, so it’s your decision!

You select the team: Managers you’ve had in the past seemed to select their staff members based on whether or not they thought the prospective new hires could be a good sounding board (i.e., listen to their stories and essentially brownnose the boss. You didn’t like working with these types of people. As the boss, you don’t have to. You can hire and work with a team built of high moral character and intellectual strength. Just remember, you’ll want them all to be team players.

You manage the workplace environment: Similar to the above benefit, you’re going to want a staff made up of hardworking and positive people. Office gossip or passive-aggressive behavior in the workplace will create an uncomfortable environment, and could even result in some of your best employees leaving. Set the tone of the office from day one. This will stop petty arguments and lazy behavior before it’s able to start.

You choose the office space: You can work from your very own home or rent an office on top of your favorite café. You can take the train to work or ride your bike for a 10-minute commute. The only thing I suggest is setting up your office in a geographic area that all of your staff can easily commute to without being in the car for an hour at a time—no one likes a long commute to work!

Tax breaks: If you work from your home, you could be eligible for some tax breaks. Click here for more information.

The Pitfalls

Clients manage YOU: Do you remember working that customer service job in high school and thinking you hope to never have a job like it again? Well, running your own company is sort of like having that job, only you don’t have a manager to call and back you up when a client is angry.

You pay wages: You pay your employees’ salaries out of your own pocket. If someone asks for a raise and you say yes, soon every employee will be asking for a raise, and not all of them will deserve one. You’ll soon find yourself stuck explaining to upset employees why their work hasn’t warranted a raise, but someone else’s has.

Must satisfy 100 percent of your work commitments: Sick days aren’t an option for the boss unless your dehydrated from the flu or have pneumonia. You will have to be sure to keep all of your appointments, and if one MUST be cancelled, let the other person (most likely your client) know at least 24 hours in advance.

Employee mishaps: You’re going to have employees who frequently call in sick or quit unexpectedly. It’ll then be left to you and your remaining staff to pick up their slack.

Long hours: You’re going to be working a lot of overtime, but because you’re the boss, you won’t be getting paid for it.

After reading, do you think you still have what it takes? Learn more about small business practices, small business insurance and even take advantage of sites that offer free small business insurance quotes. Remember, the internet is your friend.